How many units and calories are in lager? (2024)

Beers, including lager, are the most commonly bought type of alcoholic drink in pubs in Great Britain.1

And Drinkaware research has found that lager is the type of alcohol drunk most at home by people who drink more than the UK low risk drinking guidelines2 - It’s safest not to drink more than 14 units a week, spread over three or more days, with several drink-free days - and no bingeing.

Regularly drinking more than the low risk drinking guidelines increases your risk of serious health conditions including heart problems, high blood pressure and poor mental health. Drinking alcohol also causes at least seven types of cancer, including breast, bowel, mouth and throat cancers.3

But how much alcohol is in lager, and how many calories? Get the facts here, and find out how you can cut down.

How much alcohol is in lager?

Checking a lager's ABV (alcohol by volume) tells you what percentage of the drink is made up of alcohol. For example, a lager with 4% ABV is four percent pure alcohol – and the higher the percentage, the more alcohol there is.

On average, lagers and beers sold to be drunk at home in the UK are 4.6% ABV.4 But that’s only an average – some can be much stronger. The only way to be sure of the strength of a particular lager is to check the label.

A good way to keep track of how much you’re drinking is to know how many units of alcohol are in your drink. One unit of alcohol is 10ml (ten millilitres) of pure alcohol – and the number of units you are drinking depends on the drink’s size and strength.

For example, a pint (568ml) of 4.6% ABV lager has 2.6 units in it.

Download the free MyDrinkaware app to track your units

How many calories are in lager?

A pint (568ml) of lager with 4% ABV can contain:

How many units and calories are in lager? (1)


calories - that’s roughly the same as a standard slice of pizza

Alcohol is high in calories. It contains around seven calories a gram - almost as many as pure fat.5

Calories from alcohol are often described as 'empty calories', meaning they have no nutritional value because they are consumed in addition to the calories your body needs. And drinking alcohol affects the way your body processes fat for energy.6 You are more likely to store fat around your middle – which is an area where men in particular tend to show weight gain, sometimes referred to as a ‘beer belly’.7,8

What’s more, if you find that you eat more junk food after a drinking session, you won’t be alone. That’s because drinking affects the hormones that control your appetite,6 as well as making you less inhibited and therefore less likely to make healthy choices.7

Find out more about alcohol, calories and maintaining a healthy weight

Alcohol-free and low alcohol alternatives to lager

Alcohol-free and low alcohol lager is made using the same ingredients as standard lager – but with less alcohol than its standard equivalent:11

  • Low alcohol beer contains 1.2% ABV, or less
  • Most ‘alcohol-free’ beer contains 0.05% alcohol by volume (ABV), or less

The 0.05% limit for alcohol-free is based on voluntary government guidance – in practice some ‘alcohol-free’ beers have up to 0.5% ABV.

Because they still contain some alcohol, these types of drink aren’t suitable if you want or need to avoid alcohol. But if you want to cut down without stopping completely, switching – not adding them as extra drinks - can be a good way to cut your overall alcohol consumption and stick to the UK Chief Medical Officers’ low risk drinking guidelines.

Drinkaware research has found regular drinkers of alcohol-free products thought the taste had improved over recent years. Negative perceptions of taste were more common amongst people who hadn’t tried them, with many people pleasantly surprised with the taste when they did.12 So if you’re thinking of switching to alcohol-free lager to cut your consumption, there’s never been a better time to try it.

Find out more about alcohol-free beer

How to reduce the amount of lager you are drinking

Mind your measures

If you’re used to drinking pints of lager, try switching to smaller measures like a half pint or a small bottle instead.

Track your units with the MyDrinkaware app

Alternate alcohol with water or soft drinks

Non-alcoholic drinks can help slow your alcohol consumption, reducing the overall units you consume. Water will also help you to stay hydrated.

Have several drink-free days per week

If you drink regularly, your body starts to build up atolerance to alcohol.This is one of the reasons the UK Chief Medical Officers’ low risk drinking guidelines recommend havingseveral drink free days each week, as well as not drinking more than 14 units per week.

Ideas for your next drink-free day

Track your drinking over time

If you choose to drink, recording exactly what you’ve drunk during the week will tell you whether you're keeping within thelow risk drinking guidelines. Our free MyDrinkaware appis perfect for tracking your drinks when you’re out and about.

Opt out of rounds

Drinking in rounds means that you’re keeping up with the fastest drinker, so you could be consuming your units faster than you’d like. Regain control, and maybe even save some cash, by buying your own drinks instead.

Find out more about drinking and peer pressure

How many units and calories are in lager? (2)

Further advice and information

Arming yourself with strategies and tips can help you or a loved one take small steps towards big results.

Worried about someone else's drinking? How to stop drinking alcohol completely How to reduce your drinking Is alcohol harming your stomach?


[1] YouGov Plc: YouGov Profiles (Drinkaware Monitor - 2021). Sample size for Home (n = 1,894); Pub (n = 1,915). Available at:

[2] Drinkaware research. What do risky drinkers drink at home? (4 July 2022). Available at:

[6]Sonko, B. J., Prentice, A. M., Murgatroyd, P. R., et al. (1994). Effect of alcohol on postmeal fat storage. Am J Clin Nutr, 59, 619-25.

[8]Shi, H. and Clegg, D.J. (2009). Sex differences in the regulation of body weight. Physiology &Behavior, 97(2), pp.199-204.

[9]Yeomans, M.R., Caton, S. and Hetherington, M.M. (2003). Alcohol and food intake. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, 6(6), 639-644.

[10]Gan, G., Guevara, A., Marxen, M., Neumann, M., Jünger, E., Kobiella, A., Mennigen, E., Pilhatsch, M., Schwarz, D., Zimmermann, U.S. and Smolka, M.N. (2014). Alcohol-induced impairment of inhibitory control is linked to attenuated brain responses in right fronto-temporal cortex. Biological Psychiatry, 76(9), 698-707.

[12] Drinkaware, Alcohol-free and Low alcohol drinks – research report (July 2022). Available at:

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Last Reviewed: 1st March 2023

Next Review due: 1st March 2026


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